Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Visit to Aunt Kitt's House

A couple Friday's ago, we went to visit our Aunt Kitt at her house. Tia has occupational therapy on Friday mornings down in Broomfield, which is a little less than halfway to Kitt's house. It was her off Friday, so we decided to go play and I am so glad we did. The traffic getting down there was a little heavier than expected, but not bad and we got there safe and sound. We got there a little bit before Kitt, so we had to wait for just a couple of minutes, but then the fun started.

The girls were so excited to go to Aunt Kitt's house. They were a little leary that I was going to leave them, but I assured them I was not and that I was just here to play with them and Kitt. So, we went into Kitt's house and of course the girls (mainly Tia) wanted to go swimming right away, but it was not warm enough yet. So, we decided to play games for a bit. We played Clue Jr. (Kylee's pick). It is too complex for Tia, so Kitt let her dig through her wallet and just play around on her own while we played. Then we played Curious George Matching. Tia loves this matching game. She loves it and she is good at it. So, we played that at least once, maybe twice. Then we finally caved and went swimming. It was a little chilly in the pool, but once we started swimming it was just fine. We swam and the girls showed Aunt Kitt all their new tricks. Kitt and I had a couple races and contests, so it was great. The girls however, started to get cold, so after keeping them in the pool as long as we could we hopped over to the hot tub. We relaxed in there for a bit and then convinced them to go back in the pool. We jumped in all together. Then I showed Kylee a cannonball. I am honestly not the best cannonballer but I am to a five year-old. So, Kylee was jumping in like crazy working on her cannonballs. Tia jumped for a little while, but then tired of that, so we went to the steps were she could stand and she wanted to swim and be chased and stuff like that. After awhile they tired of the pool, so we back to the hot tub. We sat in there for a bit, and tried to convince the girls to go jump in the pool again, but they refused. So, Kitt and I jumped in and then got out. We laid out on the sidewalk and enjoyed soaking up the heat from the pool deck. After warming there for a few minutes, we went up back up to Kitt's apartment for lunch. We changed and while lunch was cooking Kitt and the girls played 'Go Fish.' Kylee really likes that game and Tia likes it when she has some help to play. Anyway, eventually the Mac and Cheese, hotdogs, and peas were all ready and we had lunch. Then after that we had to get ready to go. I really wanted to stay longer, but I was trying really hard to be good and not break the "rules," so that when I ask if I can go do it again the answer runs a much a better chance of being a Yes.

It was super fun to go to Kitt's house. I had a blast just doing our thing, but doing it with Kitt and doing it somewhere else. I love having a sister, so close and having my kids be old enough that trips like this don't totally shake the foundation of our life. I don't know how long Kitt will stay close, but you know I love that she is here and close. Plus, now that I have proved to myself that I can drive down there and that it actually worked out really well it is a lot more tempting to go play, because it was fairly simple and, so worth it. Family is what it is about and I love that I get to be part of amazing families. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

This last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend and we had a blast. Saturday morning everyone slept in. The kids didn't wake-up until 7:15 or so and so we just reveled in the quietness. It was so great. Once the kids got up we went on a Pokewalk around the high school and watched the graduation preparations. Then we made breakfast. We had waffles with leftover whip cream and raspberry pie filling. Then much to my children's chagrin we had to go out a pick weeds. We have had so much rain this year, that we haven't been able to get down the weed killer, so the weeds just keep growing.  Gaupo tackled most of the side yard below the fence while the girls and I tackled the side of the driveway and the front of the house. When we were done with that we headed to the store to pick up some groceries. We actually probably wouldn't have even needed to go to the store except we needed milk and so while we there we picked up stuff for somores, ice cream, bacon, and bananas. We should have probably stayed home. Oh well, all the stuff we got is really good. Anyway, we came home and unloaded and then had lunch and naps. When the girls woke up from their naps they were dying to watch something, but we put it off because Tia's preschool teacher was coming over to sign a book that I got for Tia. I actually have one for both my kids. It is Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess. Anyway, I was really pleased that she came over to sign it and then also so I could get a picture of them together. As soon as she left, we watch the movie Inside Out. It was good, but a little complex for kids, but it worked. Then we went out and had a hot dog roast. It was so great. I love a good fire roasted hot dog and somores. I was so glad Gaupo humored me in doing that. Then we gave the girls baths and got our own showers done and called it a night.
Tia and her Teacher Ms. Gabrielle.
Gaupo, Kylee, and Tia roasting hot dogs.
Proving I was at the roast.
The rest of the crew at the roast. Tia, Kylee, and Gaupo.
Sunday was pretty normal except that Aunt Kitt came. We have really late church, so she got to our house and got settled and then met us at church, so she could walk home with us. When we got home we chatted and played for a bit and then made greasy tacos for dinner. They were so good. I wasn't going to have one, but then I did and oh boy I ate a lot of them. It is a good thing Gaupo wanted another soft taco, so I could eat the majority of his greasy tacos. Then we had ice cream for dessert. Then the girls went to bed and we played Ticket to Ride. Then we got to chatting and chatted until it was time to go to bed. We went to bed kind of early because Monday was going to be busy, and it was suppose to be early, but...

Well, we had a hard time waking up. So, we got off to a late start and we really wanted breakfast on the griddle. So, we did. We had a great breakfast of bacon, pancakes, and eggs on the griddle. While we were prepping and making that goodness, I fixed us a sack lunch for our hike. We had breakfast and then we packed up the food and headed out to Button Rock Preserve. It is about 20-30 minutes from here. I took the girls last year. Well, this year Gaupo wanted to go see this place, so we went. We got there and started up. We got up to the trail head, and I made the choice to go the long way this time. Really I should learn to just do what I know, or take the easy way, but no I wanted to see where this trail put us out at. So, my great family said okay and we hike Sleepy Lion Trail. Even though it was longer and harder I think I would actually still do it again because it was really pretty and more hiking like. It still kicked us out in time to hike the switch backs up the reservoir which I was kind of hoping it would help us by pass, but it didn't. The kids actually did really well on it and it was only when we had to do the switchbacks that Kylee got really mad. However, we made it to the water and they got to dip there feet in. We were going to rest up and have lunch, but then it started to rain, so we had the girls finish their sandwiches as we walked and promised them the snacks when we got back. They actually opened a portion of the trail that was closed the last time we were there which made the hike back really nice. So, luckily the hike back was pretty quick. We did get wet, but we dried out pretty quick. Being the AZ girl that I am, I didn't bring jackets because it was sunny and warm when we left. Luckily Tia wore hers in the car, so we had one. So, actually Kylee ended up with it and walking with me and Kitt and Gaupo took Tia and let her ride his shoulders most of the way, so they could get down faster. It wasn't exactly how I hoped the hike would end, but hey we finished and Kylee said she likes Button Rock now, so I guess it wasn't all bad.
Kitt, Tia, Me, Gaupo, and Kylee on the Trail
Tia on a stump that looks like a chair at the beginning of the hike.
Kylee on the stump.
Kylee, Gaupo, and Tia hiking another part of the trail.
Kitt, Tia, and Kylee sitting on some rocks for a bit of break.
Tia found this cool rock that had a whole with water in it. She only pretend to drink.
Me, Kylee, Tia, and Gaupo with a great view. Not yet to the destination, but we could see it.
Me, Kylee, Tia, and Kitt
Tia, and Kylee and the outlet.
Me at the outlet. (sorry still working on not looking weird during a selfie)
Kylee, Kitt, Tia, Me, and Gaupo at Ralph Price reservoir (the destination).

When we got home (around 2:30) we all took naps for awhile. Then we woke up and got the potatoes and stuff ready for dutch oven chicken and potatoes. If everything had cooked as it was suppose to we would have been ready close to 5:15ish (we were suppose to be ready by 5:00) however, the potatoes did not want to cook and so we weren't ready until about 6:00. Luckily Kitt wasn't in a hurry and our friend Rhonda who we invited over for dinner was okay with it. She said it is nice to be around young people. I really don't think she minded it and it was great to visit with her. The girls even talked her into getting on the tramp. I so wish I had a picture of it, but of course my phone was inside, oh well. Anyway, the food turned out good and we had a great visit. After Rhonda left, we watch an episode of Riders of Berk which is a TV series based on the movie How to Train Your Dragon. Then we got the girls to bed and helped Kitt pack up her things and sent her off. Then Gaupo and I chatted and watch Hogans until bed time.

It was such a great weekend. I love spending so much time with my family. I also love being outdoors and seeing this wonderful planet that God created for us. I am always amazed at the beauty of the earth. I am also amazed at how no two spots are the same. It is pretty amazing. I have such a wonderful family and I am so glad we got to spend so much time together. I am also thankful for this wonderful holiday we had to celebrate those who have given there all for our country and freedoms. It is because of them that I can worship as I please, have a family and dreams, and that I am blessed to do what I do. I know the USA has a lot of problems, but I still feel so blessed to live here.

What We Have Been Up To

It seems like every time someone asks me what happened in my life I reply, "I don't. Same stuff I guess." Then as the conversation moves or as I get to thinking about it I find that my actual response should be, "It has been amazingly awesome."

The end of spring being of summer is one of my favorite times of year because even after a mild winter you feel like you are coming out of hibernation. I mean the whole world comes out of it. This is the time of year when the grass is green, the flowers are alive, and people are happy to be outside. I just love it. I love it because being cooped up for the winter makes me do stuff that may seem a little overboard but at the moment seemed totally logical. Its awesome.

One of my great moments this last week was being able to attend the temple TWICE!! I usually only attended the temple once and this time I did it twice and it was awesome. The first time I went with the Relief Society sisters for our monthly meeting. It was kind of weird to go without Gaupo or any other family member, but at the same time it was nice to see my friends in the gospel too. Also because I went twice I did different things. I did a session and then on Friday when I went with Gaupo we did sealings for the first time in the Ft. Collins Temple. I loved both things. They were so perfect for different reasons. The session was really good and the time in the celestial room was so peaceful and so great. Sometimes it really is so hard to leave the temple. Then when I did sealings I loved hearing the covenants again. I loved holding Gaupo's hand. We even sat on the couples couch, so we got to sit right next to each other. It was so awesome. I also love when we get to seal families because I reflect on how grateful I am for my children and how my eternity will be far greater with them there. So, I love feeling like I am helping families achieve that togetherness. I just love it. I love the temple and the peace and protection that it provides from the world. I am always so amazed at how still and peaceful the temple feels.

Another great moment was when Gaupo took Kylee, Tia, and I swimming. The girls had such a great time showing their Dad all the things they can do. Tia has passed to the seal level, so she can now do back floats, front floats, and roll overs by herself and loved showing her dad that. Kylee loves to jump in and is great at gliding, rolling over, and swimming. She even conquered her fear of the deep-deep end (12ft) and jumped in it. I was so impressed. Tonight when we went swimming Kylee said, "This is the first time I'll say it. I love that deep water." I was so pleased with that comment. I am always amazed at how quickly my children pick up things and conquer challenges when they put there mind to and decided that, yes they can do it. I am so looking forward to this summer and swimming with them. I think they will have a great time at the pool. I am sure we will have some fear conquering moments still, but they are doing it and doing awesome.

 Yesterday was good weather and after the snow last week I decided we needed to get out. So, I piled Trent and Tori into the bike trailer and Kylee and Tia rode their bikes and we met up with Gaupo at what we call Rocky Mountain Park for a picnic and park fun. The crazy thing about it was letting the girls ride. The way to Rocky Mt. has a pretty steep hill down that if you don't stop you go into a pretty busy road. I was too chicken just to trust them. So, I went down and had them follow me that way they ran into me and not the road. However, they were complete champs and did it perfectly. I know it was crazy horrible to witness Tia's wipe-out a couple weeks ago,  but I think she learned a lot about it and so she is more cautious  now (that is a good thing.) I was also worried about going back because you know if you go down you have come back up, but the girls did great. I struggled a little because my pedal broke off. So, trying to pull a trailer with a good 50+ pounds in it with only a little bar to press on while going up a pretty steep grade is kind of challenging, but we all made it. The girls didn't even whine. They must be getting stronger or realizing that Mom still makes them ride even if they do, so its pointless. Either way they were champs and I was so impressed by their bike skills.

In other stuff, we went to a greenhouse here in town 'The Flower Bin' and got some veggie starts and looked at all the flowers and the fish pond.
The girls sitting at a cute place at the Flower Bin
Other exciting news, Kylee got her very own library card and checked out her first book. She is so excited. The requirement--write her first and last name. She practiced and practiced, so she got it.
Kylee with her card and first library book.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Preschool Graduation

It is currently snowing like crazy outside and all I really want to do is get all wrapped up in a book. The problem is I am in the middle of a book, but I am reading it with Gaupo, so I need to wait for him. Consequently, I was pondering what I should do while the kids are still sleeping. I thought,"I should blog. I don't don't have anything to blog about. Oh yeah, I do."

Here it is, I need to blog about my Kylee girl and how she had her first graduation. We sent Kylee to Marilyn Wilson's Joy School this year. She has loved it. She gained a best friend, Ryker Atkinson and had tons of fun. The amazing thing to me is  how much she learned. She can write most letters, she can definitely write her first name. She can recognize some basic words. She has learned to create. She has learned to pretend and play with other children. She really has had so much fun. I look back at her first day of school, and all the thoughts I had spinning in my head at that time, and then I look at how we are at the end of the school year and it just flew by. This school was so perfect for Kylee. The only problem is, she thinks Kindergarten will be too hard and she doesn't like math. Oh brother. I mean she hasn't even really tried either yet, however, if I had as much fun as she did with school I am not sure I would really want to change either.

It being May, it is time for school to wrap up. Like I said Kylee had a great year, and learned and grew so much. She is such a fun little powerhouse. Anyway, her graduation was last Thursday the 11th. It was held at 7:00pm at the 11th Ave. Latter-Day Saint Church building. We were suppose to bring a snack to share, so we brought our family favorite of goldfish and chocolate chips mixed. I didn't see too many adults with it, but almost every kid had some. Anyway, it was so great. They sang a couple of songs, had a slide show, did a couple more songs and then had the graduation march. It was so cute. I loved it, but I really kind of like graduations. Here are a couple pics and some video of the event. Sorry about the poor quality, but Tia tripped with my good camera and it got broken, so you stuck with video and pictures from my phone.


Teacher Wilson Presenting Kylee with her diploma.
Kylee the graduate.
Our silly Graduate.
Kylee and Tia.
A group hug.
Gaupo and Kylee who are both totally thrilled to take pics.
Kylee and Me. (sorry about only half my face, Gaupo didn't tell me.
Kylee and Teacher Wilson.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Perfect Moments--Tender Mercies

I was going to write about how this last weekend both Friday and Saturday were the kind of days that I always hoped I would have when I grew-up. They were awesome. However, as I had to let the post sit for a couple of days I got to thinking about how not even those two days of my life were perfect, but in almost everyday if I look hard enough there is a perfect moment. There is a moment, short or long, that is just perfect. Sometimes that perfection is after the kids have fallen asleep and we move them into there bed and I get to see those two peaceful slumbering daughters of God and revel that they are mine. I will be honest I don't often think about that all day because they are usually wanting something, giggling, laughing, running around, or whatever but in the peaceful moment right before I turn in for the night I get to see how truly blessed I really am.

Anyway, I don't have have perfect days. I do have moments were I feel like things are just what I had hoped. I have really seen them this last week and want to share them with you.

On Gaupo's birthday, I was going for wife of the year award. I made chicken fried steak, fries, texas sheet cake, and steamed vegetables. However, I didn't know exactly when Gaupo was going to be home and it turned out later than expected, so everything was over done. I didn't think the sheet cake was that great. Gaupo liked it, but for me it was just okay. However, when Gaupo did get home we gathered around the table and we ate this dinner I prepared. That is when the moment began. I was perturbed because the food wasn't what I had hoped for, but you know I married a really awesome man and he thought it was the best and told me so. He even ate leftovers of it even though the fries were SUPER crunchy and dry. He loved his cake and even let me put matches in it for candles. I forgot to buy candles. Anyway, another great moment happened there after and that was that Gaupo's girls could no longer wait to have him open his presents. For me, it is so great when my kids catch my enthusiasm and excitement for a holiday, birthday, or whatever. So, it was so fun to watch them beg their dad to open his presents, to sing him happy birthday, and just have their eyes shine with love for their dad. Kylee was also so super. She really, really thought he needed chocolate milk on his birthday. I couldn't help her with it because I had to go take Tia to OT. So, I poured the milk and chocolate in the cup and told her to stir it up. Well she was so pleased. She stirred it good and then apparently went and got Gaupo, so he could put it in the fridge for her because she was really afraid it would get warm. She was so sweet it was so cute.
Our wonderful Guapo!
Tia, Kylee, Daddy being silly.
Present Time.
Another just oh so perfect moment was the afternoon of my birthday. To be honest my actual birthday was really rough. So, I wasn't having a great day. I had gotten the kids down for a nap and was going to lay down myself, because I was have a grumpy day and needed a restart. Well, just about the time I got to laying down I hear little kid knocks on my door. I open up and there is my friend Bethany Blaine with her kids Jensen and Calvin and their cousin Jacob. She gave me a present and then asked if the kids were in bed. I said yes, and she said oh, these guys were hoping to play. Then she needed to use the bathroom really quick and so while she was doing that I made the choice to ask the boys if they could play quietly. They of course said they could, so they came in. Then when Bethany got out she sat and talked with me for about an hour and a half. I don't know if she really had time to do that, but you know what it was so what I needed. It really changed the whole rest of the afternoon and evening. I have kind of had a hard time finding like really good friends like that, so it was so perfect for her to just drop in and take me as I was and lift me up. It was so awesome. I was so grateful to have a friend come over. It was so perfect to just chat with a friend while the kids played.
Tia, Me, and Kylee with my Birthday cake!
Friday was another dream moment. So, I have always wanted to be a cool Mom, but I also have rules and expect my kids and their friends to follow those rules, so I wasn't sure that my kid friends would ever really want to be at my house or think doing things with us was cool. Well on Friday, I picked up Ryker Atkinson and Kylee from preschool and decided to take all the kids to Flander's Park which boarders Macintosh Lake. Well, we got out and the kids played at the park for awhile. Kylee was really pretty tired because she woke up super early, so she was kind of not being very fun, but I made her stick it out anyway because everyone else was. Then after they played for a long time, I could kind of tell the park was kind of done, so I asked the kids if they wanted to go home or go down to the lake for a minute. They of course agreed to go to the lake. So, we went down and put our feet in the water. I loved that even though the water was gross, it didn't stop me from playing in it. Although, it really did gross me out when the kids sucked on their hands. Oh well. Anyway, I was so pleased that my kiddos didn't mind feeling the mud on their feet and had fun exploring. I loved (well sort of) how the kids were so fascinated by the dead fish body that was all dried out on the shore. They were so great, but eventually we had to head home and that is when it was really great. So, we were driving home and here I am driving my minivan with my kids and their friends in it. They are laughing and talking about things really only they get. They are laughing and being silly and filling my car with joy. So, there I was the mom that these kids wanted to be with. True they wanted to be with their friends, but they still wanted that even if they had to be nice and play with everyone. It was just so golden, my kids and their friends enjoying being together and not caring that I was there. It was so great.
Kylee, Ryker, Tia, Tori.
Kylee in the lake.
Tia in the lake.
Saturday was a pretty awesome day. I can't quite call it a perfect day, because I got way to huffy at my kids and hubby when when we were trying to do yard work. I felt like Gaupo had stranded me with the kids and that I was the sole person responsible for teaching them that they needed to work even if they didn't like it. Tia kept wandering away into the garage which didn't help matters, and so I just didn't handle the situation all that great. However, I got myself pulled back together and we slowed down and had family scriptures and prayers. So, when we had to go finish I was much more who I wanted to be. However, after we were done with chores we loaded up the bikes in the van and went to Rogers Grove. The best part was I didn't even have beg my family to go out and adventure--they wanted to. Gaupo was more than happy to load up the bikes. I don't even think he was really ready to leave when we left. We had a great time. We were out there for a good hour. The girls and I did play in the river for a little bit, of that time, but that was totally awesome. Gaupo was so okay with going and doing his thing for a bit and my girls were pleased as punch to hangout with me in the river. They didn't complain that it was cold. They loved seeing the moving water and the different stones. They chatted and tried new things it was AWESOME!! Kylee didn't want to do the last little bit we did, but she still did it and did awesome. We loaded up and came home.
Gaupo, Kylee, and Tia. This isn't from Roger's Grove, but from the ride my family humored me with when we celebrated my birthday.
Kylee and Tia jumping with the sprinklers on.
Gaupo getting the potatoes started.
After lunch and naps we went grocery shopping. We took the kids in the bike trailer to do that. It was so great. It was made even better by the fact that Gaupo wanted to do it and it was actually his idea. Then when we got home we made dutch oven potatoes, and cherry cobbler while the girls jumped in the sprinklers on the trap. Once again my whole family outside without me having to beg them to go out. Then we finished of the night with Moana. It was a good movie and I loved the movie nights we had as a family for awhile as I grew up and, so I love that after a day of activity we could relax with a movie together. It was so great.

I think our lives are filled with these perfect moments and what they really are, are tender mercies. They are the Lord showing us that yes we can do this. Showing us that even though we sometimes get upset or aren't the nicest He is still there looking out for us. I think He loves sharing his joy with us, and His joy comes from His children. Heavenly Father knew the desires of my heart. He knows I really do want to be great Mom, and wife. He know that I want my children to grow-up and appreciate the wonderful world He created for us. He knows that I want my kids to know how to work. Because he knows these things, He allows me to see moments of when things turn out right. It doesn't mean it all turned out right, just a few thing. Just enough to motivate me to keep going and keep trying that it will be worth it. My kids and husband are worth my time, love, energy, and fun. People say life isn't perfect and its not, but there is defiantly joy in the journey. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week of the Visit

I have tried not to play catch up on my blog, but I let myself do it "just this once," and now I know why I never do it. It just pushes off everything until I am posting way behind the times. However, this is hopefully the last super late least for a little while.

So, like I said before Kara, Seth, Ross, and Klaire spent a whole week at my house and it was awesome. I was kind of worried about it because it was really the first time I have had one of my siblings visit me, while I have my life going on. They were here, but we still had swim lessons, preschool, a pretty major R.S. Activity, occupational therapy, and Frisbee. Oh yeah, and dentist appointments. However, it turned out really good.

Kara and Klaire were real sports and came and supported us in most of our 'life activities.' Kara and Ross really like the exercise ball at swimming lessons. Ross thought it was pretty fun to bounce on those. Klaire was a champ and entertained the girl not in swim lessons, by letting them take pictures with her phone. The girls of course loved showing what they could do, and I loved showing my family what they could do.

As for preschool, we just played while the girls were in it. On Tuesday we took Ross to Roosevelt Park. It had some pretty big slides that I got to take him. I think he would have preferred his mom, but I was willing to climb all the stairs and go with him so it was super fun. Although, he did get stuck in the one tube slide that might have slightly traumatized him, but only from large tube slides because he was still more than willing to go on the big twisty slide. After walking around the park and playing we went and picked up Tia from school. She loved riding next to Ross in the car. When Kylee got home we just played with her and so it was great. Thursday preschool worked out good too. Klaire went with me to take both girls to preschool and they loved that, plus I got some one-on-one time with her which is always great. When we came home, Kara was resting because Ross had gotten up before the crack of dawn, so she was so tired. However, that left Seth to take car of him and I have't really had much time to just hangout with Seth, so it was fun to talk to him. I like how he talks like Gaupo. He says everything like its a proven fact and there is no disputing it, but it isn't really something that is that solid. I don't it is just really funny. Anyway, we spent the majority of the time outside which Ross LOVED! We jumped on the tramp. I mean really jumped (not when Ross was on it). We played crack the egg with Klaire. I don't know if she appreciated it, but I think it was okay. It is totally something Jack and I would have done to Klaire or Kitt when we were younger. It was really fun to play with big people. When it came time to pick-up Tia, Seth and I rode bikes to pick her up. I pulled Ross in the trailer (don't worry Seth totally would have pulled them, but I didn't want to ride Gaupo's old bike, and we had to kind of hurry, so we couldn't take the hitch off mine.) It was so great to ride and enjoy the air and just enjoy being out. Tia of course was so pleased that we came on bikes, she loves riding her bike or being in the trailer. When we got home we played more outside and then Kylee came home. This time Ryker came over and played for a bit which actually ended up being really good because Kara and Seth went down to visit Seth's brother on Thursday afternoon. So, while they were gone the kids played and played and played and Klaire and I played Rivals of Catan.

The pretty major R.S. Activity was our visiting teaching conference. We were providing dinner and then having a few people talk on their visiting teaching experiences. It was really, really good. I was kind of stressed about it, because I didn't really know the plan and I was trying really, really hard to let the person I delegated to do their thing and be in charge and I think it worked out well. I was in charge of the rice and gravy for the night, but I took some wise people's advice and delegated it all out and to be honest it took a lot of work up front, but when it came down to the time it allowed me to do other things that I needed. Kara and Klaire joined me at the activity and stayed and helped clean up, so that was awesome. Seth was a champ and watched my girls for me, so I didn't have to find a babysitter and that was awesome too. I thought it was a good night. I think everyone had a good time and if not I am pretty sure everyone enjoyed the delicious fruit cookie/tart thing that a lady in our ward made for dessert, so it was a success. Also, the speakers that were picked for that night really did a great job of hitting the major points that we want to bring out: let your visiting teachers serve you, sometimes a monthly visit is all they need and sometimes they need more, but if you can't do it then help them find those who can, and stuff like that. It was really good, plus we had about 35 people a few of which don't usually come, so it was great.

So, I also had Frisbee while they were here. Actually Kitt even came up on Thursday afternoon, so I was kind of excited to have people watch me play. However, the weather turned out really nasty and then it started to lightning just as Kitt and Klaire got to the fields and the game ended up being cancelled. I was kind of bummed, but actually I think it turned out for the best. We went to Wal-Mart and hit their after Easter candy sales. I also bought a sled and a brick maker for next year. I am really excited about those especially because they were ridiculously cheap. So, we went and did that. Then we came back to our house. We were just going to tell Gaupo that the game was cancelled and we were going for ice cream, but Kara had texted me she was on her way back, so we waited for her. Then us four girls went out for ice cream. It was so great. I think that night was definitely one my favorite nights. It was so fun to just be us for just a little bit. It isn't like we talked about anything we couldn't say in front of Guapo or Seth. It is just that sometimes the conversation goes different when its just you and your sisters. Anyway, we stayed and chatted about all kind of thing for awhile and then we came home and watched Hogan's Hero's and went to bed.

Now, Friday is the day Tia has occupational therapy and Kylee usually has preschool. However, we decided to let Kylee ditch school and OT starts at 7:30AM, so it doesn't really affect the day that much, but we still had to go when we had company and that was kind of a bummer, but as like the whole entire week, it turned out to be a great thing. While we were gone Kara and Seth went and bought a dozen doughnuts. We never have fresh doughnuts, so that was quite a treat. Then the other's made bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, so when we got home we all scrunch around the table for a breakfast feast. It was so good. I think everyone enjoyed and everyone got enough it was awesome and really so nice to come home to a prepared breakfast. After we got breakfast cleaned up we went to Itty-Bitty City. Itty-Bitty City is where they put a whole bunch of foot powered cars, ball, hulu hoops, skates, balls, and tumbling stuff in a gym and let kids go crazy. The kids loved it and so did the rest of us. I am afraid I probably embarrassed Gaupo a little bit because I wasn't in parent mode I was in play mode. So, I was playing with my sister seeing if we could dive through a hoop before it tipped over and without touching it. Then after we had to clean it all up there was still a pretty soft tumbling mat out and we tried to do two person somersaults on it. It was pretty funny to watch and do. It was fun to be a little bit crazy again. I feel like I have to be responsible a lot, so it was really nice to not to be, but it is debatable about it being a good decision because Gaupo had to be the one to be mature and deal with his wife being kind of immature. However, it was fun.
Kylee, Tia, and Ross in their cars.
Another fun thing we did on Friday was that after naps we went swimming. We took everyone to Rec Center. It was great. It was a little crowded, but not too bad. Ross was a little unsure of it at first, but once he knew what was going on he had a great time. Kylee had fun showing off her skills and loved that Daddy and Aunt Klaire were more than willing to stay in the water with her while Mommy, Tia, and Aunt Kitt went down slides. Tia of course loved having so many opportunities to go down the slide. So, I think it was a win win for everyone.

We of course got back late, but still managed to have Mormon Enchilada's for dinner and get the kids to bed, not too late. After the kids were down we played a token game of Taboo. That means we played because we felt like we should not necessarily because that is what we wanted to do. However, it was fun and then we spent the rest of the night talking until it was time to go to bed. Oh man, Friday was definitely my favorite day, but it's because we did all my favorite stuff. It is kind of like Kara said, "It's like we celebrate Gaupo's Birthday today." It was a day of party that is for sure.

Just a couple more adventures that we had happened on Monday and Wednesday. So, Monday we went to the park right by our house before lunch and that was super great to do together. Also Monday is FHE and Kara gave the lesson. She also helped all the kids make Easter rolls. So, we filled the rolls with a marshmallow, but when they came out of the oven they were empty, just like the bomb on Easter morning. Kara used some 'true' Easter eggs to talk about Christ and His atonement, resurrection, and other significant things. We also watched the movie He is Risen. The girls listened great to Aunt Kara. It was so perfect.

Wednesday we went to the park again. This time we went to the train park and had a picnic there. Ross got to see and hear the train. He did pretty good with how loud it was, and when the second one came he did great and loved it. All the kids had a great time playing at the train park and have some treat for lunch they don't usually get. Plus, we made bread that morning, so it was like the first time in about 2.5 weeks that we had salted bread and it was, so good. We played at the park till I had to take the girls to the dentist, but it was perfect timing. Then that night after a scrumptious grill dinner we colored eggs. It was so fun to color eggs. The girls got pretty into it though they are kind of still only one color folks. However, it just completed the Easter-ness and made for a great time spent together.
Me and the Easter Egg coloring crew.
All of the Easter Egg colorers.
I thought we didn't do a whole lot with them, but after writing it down I realize we did. No wonder we had such a great time with them. Here we did a little life and a lot of party. (Sounds perfect, huh?) I am so glad they could come and were so easy to please because we sure had a great time with them.

4 Sisters Unite!

That's right everyone last week my three sisters and I were all in the same place at the same time. It was so great. It started the Saturday before Easter. Kitt came up late, late the night before and stayed the night at our house. She kindly helped me get things ready and played with us while we waited impatiently/patiently for Seth, Kara, Klaire, and Ross to get here. Luckily Kara and Seth make good time when they travel, so they got here about 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. When they got here the girls were actually still sleeping and so Ross had a hayday playing with all the toys in a new house with no one to bother him. However, the girls did eventually get up and then his being able touch anything and be left alone was over...FOREVER. Okay not really forever, but at least for the rest of his visit. We didn't do much except for play when they got here. I did try to make potatoes for potato salad. I had made them once, but I cooked them too long, so I made some more and used the over cooked ones for twice baked mashed potatoes for dinner. Anyway, I made those potatoes and then while I was cooking stuff I cooked up the sweet potatoes for dinner. Then luckily I recruited my Kara and Klaire into making dessert for Easter. So, anyway between all the cooking we played and started dinner. I fed everyone hotdogs and potatoes. Don't worry the food got better as the week progressed. After dinner I quickly bathed the girls and then Gaupo and I got ready and went to stake conference. It was a really good meeting, but with company at my house I got pretty antsy after the first hour of the meeting.

When we got home we Kara and Klaire had made the cake and my kids were still chatting at the top of the stairs, not a real big surprise there. I then went and got changed and we had more talking and visiting, plus a little bit of Easter prep which included finishing the potato salad and frosting the cake. Oh man, our chocolate cake recipe is so good. The frosting is the best part, but with the cake it is really good. After we got all that stuff done, it was pretty late so we headed to bed, so the Easter Bunny could come and set up the Easter Egg hunt.

True to tradition the Easter Bunny came and left the kids an egg hunt. However, this year he kicked it up a notch and hid some in the basement too. He must be pretty sneaky to be able to hide those eggs right next to were Aunt Kitt and Aunt Klaire were sleeping. All the kids had a great time finding the eggs. They did really good and found them all. The very last egg was found and Kylee pulled out her shoes to get ready for church, but overall they did really good and had tons of fun.
Tia going downstairs.
Kylee hot on the hunt.
Tia the happy hunter.

Seth, Ross, and Tia hunting in the basement.
Tia and Kylee opening the spoils of their Easter eggs.
Gaupo, Kylee, Tia, Me, Klaire, Kara, Seth, and Ross. Photographer: Kitt
I wish we could have had a super good Easter breakfast, but with conference at 10 and the morning egg hunt we just had cold cereal or other leftover breakfast. Then we all quickly got ready for church, so that we could leave by about 9:15ish to get to stake conference for a decent seat. Decent in this case mean in the front have of the gym. Yes, the chapel and its small overflow is all full at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting, so all of us who show up at 9:30 are relegated to the gym, which is fine I just like to be in the frontish area of it and not the back. Conference was really good and it last about 2 hours. The newest challenges from Stk. Conference are arrive to sacrament 15 minutes early and use it to prepare not to chat. The other was to double your temple attendance. I really loved how they talked about centering on Christ and when we let what isn't centered on Christ fall away we will be doing what we can.

After the meeting we all walked back home and had sandwiches or leftovers for lunch and then took naps. I am pretty sure everyone took a nap. After I napped and was waiting for everyone else to finish I read for a little bit and chatted with Kara. Then I started getting really noisy because I needed to finish getting dinner ready. Luckily most people were awake by then so I had some help. I finished up the sweet potatoes. Gaupo really wanted corn casserole, so I found him the corn muffin recipe, so that we could make it gluten-free for Kitt. We put those two things in the oven and while they cooked it was more visiting and play. The kiddos played outside because it was a such a beautiful afternoon and we adults chatted both inside and outside. Around 5:30 dinner was ready. So, we all gathered around and had dinner and then scrumptious chocolate cake for dessert. After dinner there was a bit more playing and then time for the kids to go to bed. After the kids were in bed we played Scattergories for a bit and then we talked for some and then we had to get Kitt out the door. Booo!! However, we knew she was coming back in 4 days.

After Kitt left we chatted some more and then due to the fact that this Merrill family still had life going on we had to go to bed. Its probably okay though because Kara is expecting and Ross was having a rough time sleeping, so we all needed rest. So, that was our Easter Sunday. It was super fun to have so much family and to celebrate Christ's resurrection together.

**There are more posts coming to cover this great visit.